Skip to main content

Why the Church Isn't Responsible for Social Underdevelopment: Interview With Bishop Mario De Gasperín

Interview With Bishop Mario De Gasperín of Queretaro

QUERETARO, Mexico, AUG. 25, 2004 (Zenit) - In Latin America there is a tendency by some political leaders to hold the Catholic Church responsible for the underdevelopment of 40% of the population.

The main reason for these attacks on the Church has to do with its teaching regarding birth control, which critics say has caused a population explosion and increased poverty.

To understand the nature of these accusations, the newspaper El Observador interviewed Bishop Mario de Gasperín of Queretaro.

Q: What is the origin of the insistence of some political leaders in Mexico and Latin America in faulting the Church for the underdevelopment and poverty of large sectors of the population?

Bishop de Gasperín: I think it is ignorance. The majority of times those attacks have no real foundation, because they elude the core of the social doctrine of the Church, which is none other than defense of the dignity of the human person, of every human person.

The Church is not opposed to development; what it does do is to defend human life in all its manifestations, from conception until natural death.

Q: However, the label "guilty" continues to be pinned on it by politicians who even deplore its continuing "in the Middle Ages" on issues such as birth control.

Bishop de Gasperín: Yes. It is true that it is, at least in Mexico, a custom which states that poverty exists because there is an enormous birthrate. As the Church is opposed to contraceptives, condoms and "planning" methods, the Church, therefore, is culpable.

But it is a smokescreen, a sidetracking from attention to the errors of politicians themselves, who are the ones directly responsible for underdevelopment, ignorance, lack of health services -- in a word, poverty.

Q: What is curious is that many of them say they are Catholics.

Bishop de Gasperín: If they are Catholics, they should know their faith better. Their ignorance is such that they feel they can opine in such a nonsensical way about one of the truths of faith of the Church: that human life is not negotiable, under any circumstance.

The fact is, they don't realize, or don't want to realize out of negligence, that in this matter the Church is betting on the human person; on truth.

The truth of Christ is the truth of the transcendence of life; it is not a theory. It is a very concrete commitment to every human being, whether or not he forms part of the Church.

Q: What would you ask of those who link the Church's position on artificial contraception with poverty?

Bishop de Gasperín: That they first get to know us, that they learn what we do, the revealed truth that forms part of our faith and the values we defend. They don't do so out of negligence.

I would ask that they first know us; … that they take the trouble to know the reason for the defense of life upheld by the Catholic Church.

Q: What is the origin of this attitude of disdain and lack of knowledge?

Bishop de Gasperín: In Mexico, at least, it is a philosophy that is corrupted at the root, ever since the imposition of liberalism as a political ideology.

There is a total lack of knowledge of the values that the Church defends, values which, moreover, are linked to the people's longing, to their heart.

An attempt has been made to erase the social and communitarian dimension of the Church; because on the social plane, what the Church wishes, is to form a community. And nothing benefits economic and social development more than work and life in community.

Q: We still have the family ...

Bishop de Gasperín: Yes, that's true. The problem is that today the family is somewhat kidnapped by the state and its enterprises. Kidnapped in education, amusements, culture. Kidnapped in the life of faith, the communal and social dimension of the expression of its faith.

This is a catastrophe that is under way in the name of progress. But, what progress is this, which eliminates the fundamental value of life; which measures everything in terms of market participation or gifts from the state?


Catholic Online  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Social, Freedom, Underdevelopment, Catholic, Poverty, Dignity

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Colossians 1:15-20
He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
[Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth, serve ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:33-39
They then said to him, 'John's disciples are always fasting and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

September 4 Saint of the Day

St. Rosalia
September 4: St. Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, ... Read More